12.45 (PS) NEW BLOOD AWARD-CEREMONY & STEVE FROM ENGLAND

As is already tradition, again this year the festival started on the main area with the presentation of the NEW BLOOD AWARD, which was deservedly won by the five gentlemen in STEVE FROM ENGLAND. Visibly excited and with charming reticence the guys accepted the awards and then proceeded to play with such enthusiasm more and more people were drawn out of the shade. The area facing the stage kept filling up and STEVE FROM ENGLAND had easy game. The band stuck closely to the setlist they had played the night before, which proved a wise decision. This way the recognition value was given and the crowd enjoyed the driving performance. Thanks to their great show there were calls for an encore, and the band was happy to oblige. With these two shows and the winning of the NEW BLOOD AWARD, STEVE FROM ENGLAND have made a big statement, and we will definitely hear from them again in the future.

13.35 (MS) A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH

It’s the unusual bands, those who haven’t played everywhere yet, that prove this festival’s good hand for fresh, relatively unknown, yet fantastic new bands. This also applies to A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH, the new band by ex-TYPE O NEGATIVE, ex-LIFE OF AGONY skinsman Sal Abruscato and SEVENTH VOID guitarist Matt Brown. There was a considerable crowd in front of the stage, which means the names of the musicians involved had already made the rounds, or maybe the debut album “And Hell Will Follow Me” had already sold a few copies – after this show, it will definitely be much more. Because musically, A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH sound like a mix of – surprise, surprise! – TYPE O NEGATIVE and LIFE OF AGONY, but spice up things with a shot of ALICE IN CHAINS and a healthy dose of BLACK SABBATH, creating their own blend of alternative/grunge/metal. Songs like “To Die In Your Arms” – not exactly of the happy kind – were played with such enthusiasm and vigour by the super-tight band despite all their self-destructiveness and negativity, there was already a lot of movement in the front rows. Especially drummer John Kelly mistreated his kit with total abandon and like in a trance, but also his cohorts on the three (!!!) guitars and bass flourished in the dust-dry, grooving sound. The level of acceptance A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH enjoyed was underlined by the fact they got loud calls for an encore, being only the second band on the bill. Their energetic show made it clear the band are even more gripping in a live situation than on record. Maybe we have to revise that old saying about flogging a dead horse…

14.15 (PS) THE SORROW

In 2009 they enjoyed great success, so it didn’t surprise THE SORROW were happy to be back in Dinkelsbühl. After A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH the Austrians went for it with an added dose of aggression and brutality, which was perfect to shake the last remaining tiredness from one’s bones. Their vehemently played, catchy metalcore with melodic guitar lines and huge mosh parts was perfect for this time of the day, and the first big wild circle pits started forming in the huge crowd – much to the enjoyment of the enthusiastic lads from Voralberg, who loved the interaction with their fans and kept firing them up. When they asked the fans to blow some air towards their stage with their t-shirts, thousands obliged and you could see a sea of shirts waving over the heads of the fans, who also gave their best in four massive walls of death. The first few crowdsurfers were also carried towards the stage in the 30° heat. The firehose used by the security was a welcome refreshment. THE SORROW were in top form, every note and every break were extremely tight, the change between brutal shouts and clear singing was perfect, and the massive sound rounded up a great performance. No question, this band has become a force to be reckoned with!

15.00 (MS) SEVENTH VOID

Doom metal and sunshine? Does that work together? Yes, it does! However, New York’s SEVENTH VOID had a significantly smaller audience than THE SORROW just before them on the Pain Stage. It seems like it has got around yet that Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly, both ex-TYPE O NEGATIVE members, are the ones who call the shots in SEVENTH VOID. Those who were there, however, got to see a very enthusiastic band who presented a great set consisting of almost all of the tracks on their 2009 debut album “Heaven Is Gone” plus a new, as-yet-unreleased song. Of course there were a few “green” riffs here and there, but Hickey’s voice, which was slightly reminiscent of Chris Cornell’s, and the earthy riffs made the mix lean more towards the hard rock side of things. And when a band is able to use the good old cowbell in such a cool way we can say we have a a winner. The fans seemed to think the same as they gave the heroes many rounds of enthusiastic applause. All in all, a very appealing show.

15.00 (PZ) CRIPPER

Party Tent, a new day, new luck and especially the same old heat. Even before the first band started, the extreme temperature was making people sweat even without moving. And when CRIPPER came on stage the afternoon became extremely sweaty. Proper thrash to start the party on Thursday – right in your face. Frontwoman Britta kept firing up the audience and all the energy came back to the Hannover band in the form of positive energy. The allotted 35 minutes were used to fire one thrash salvo after another right into the crowd. The crowd was happy to be taken higher, faster, louder, and enjoyed it a lot when a second female singer, Lucie from SUBORNED, came on stage for the final “FAQU”. All in all, a tidy performance with loads of energy and power thanks to the band’s consequent stage acting.

15.35 (CS) RANZ BOELLNER AND THE HEAVY METAL WARRIORS

The band didn’t have their own backdrop on stage, but the Camel Stage motto “We Are Inspired By Music” fit them like a glove. And they really went for it, trying to summon up the glory times of hair metal, using loads of fur and spandex in the trouser department and cowboy boots as well (one of the guitarists was wearing trainers that had been pimped to boots with impressive handcraft), plus porno sunglasses and loads of fake hair on top. It may sound a lot like a piss-take, and there is admittedly a lot of humor involved, but at the core it’s just a lot of love and passion for the music many in the audience grew up with. RANZ BOELLNER and his warriors seemed to speak from the audience’s hearts as there was a great atmosphere and people enjoyed the show a lot. Which didn’t really come as a surprise, since the band – ridiculous or not – played really tight and the singer did a great Axl Rose impersonation. Even the real Axl Rose can’t always do that nowadays. Horns up!

15.50 (PS) DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR

Following SEVENT VOID, next on the Pain Stage there was a huge contrast: tough-guy hardcore by DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR. Boston’s finest have never been known to make many prisoners, and again this time there was only one direction: no compromise and full speed ahead. “Count Me In” opened the set as is already tradition, being received by probably the most brutal pit of the festival so far. No breakdown missed its aim, just like Boris Becker’s aces in Wimbledon back in 1985. No singalong went ignored by the crowd, who knew most of the lyrics as well. There’s probably no other frontman who can shout “Fuck it all” with more conviction and seem so honest and likeable at the same time than Bryan Harris. The fact that he had just changed the whole backing band made no difference when hits like “Curl Up And Die” and the anxiously awaited “Friends, Family, Forever” came blasting through the PA. But the best, as always, was saved for last. THE street punk anthem about the band’s home town: “Boston Belongs To Me”. Everything that need to be said had been said, so the band left ten minutes before the scheduled end of their stage time.

15.55 (PZ) 9MM ASSI ROCK 'N' ROLL

Before their show, the funny guys in 9MM ASSI ROCK’N’ROLL were relaxing behind the stage under black parasols, which fit the rest of their outfit ideally. The heat in the tent mentioned earlier obviously hadn’t receded, so the intro music of “Pirates Of The Caribbean” fit the tropical temperatures. The first few smiles in the audience were also secured. The band started with a part of the JUDAS PRIEST classic “Living After Midnight”. Pilot shades, leather jackets and fitting trousers, the band had a real rowdy attitude. Those who had been skeptical about their appearance were soon taught better. Led by singer Rock Rotten, the band set out to eradicate any shadow of doubt about their qualities. Their mix of dirty rock’n’roll, punk influences and loads of fun weren’t enough to make people forget about the heat, but helped make it a lot more bearable. To show solidarity with the audience, the singer first dropped his trousers and later also his leather jacket. With the stage rap “Nice Boys Don’t Play Rock’n’Roll” and the song title “Respektlos Bis Zum Letzten Schuss”, their intentions were pretty clear. One fan even managed to climb up to the stage, and even the cover of “Marmor, Stein Und Eisen Bricht” was received enthusiastically. A solid show which we wouldn’t mind revisiting in the future.

16.40 (MS) THE HAUNTED

After DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR, THE HAUNTED didn’t exactly have easy game, as the Bostonians had really gone for it next door. After the band, led by a bearded Peter Dolving, stepped on stage, you could tell the audience was curious to hear the new material and to see if it would work together with the old smashers. The first thing to notice was the clear sound, which immediately raised the band’s credit. THE HAUNTED focused on the middle part of their career (unfortunately they completely left out their debut album). There was obviously also brand new stuff played, namely “Never Better” and “Unseen”, but the reactions were still a bit reserved. Actually, the crowd didn’t really get into it at first, only marginally appreciating the melodic parts and quite obviously longing for the heavier moments. Henceforth, the pit only came alive during the faster, heavier songs from the band’s early phase. With a little help from Mr Dolving, who kept encouraging the crowd to party and go crazy, there was finally a circle pit and a proper wall of death. Another convincing THE HAUNTED show, which was honored with much-deserved applause after the last tone had faded.

16.50 (PZ) DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT

DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT are one of the most promising German underground black metal bands,and they were out to conquer Summer Breeze today. Up to now the Würzburg band (whose members were also involved in the hardcore band FUCK YOUR SHADOW FROM BEHIND) had been able to raise some eyebrows in the scene with their two albums, which comes as no surprise considering their driving black metal full of detailed melodies and reflective lyrics in German language. And it was in this live situation where the brilliant lead melodies with a slight post-rock tinge came across as especially fascinating, not least due to the perfect instrumental performance and the crystal-clear sound. The nordic clattering of the guitars, the precise blast beat drumfire almost throughout the set, the hysterically raspy vocals and the atmospheric light show held mostly in blue and white cast a cold spell on the tent. One goosebump moment followed the next. With their unorthodox take on black metal DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT truly awoke the wolf in man!

17.35 (PS) COMEBACK KID

There couldn’t really be much talk of a comeback in this case as it was the band’s first appearance at Summer Breeze. However, considering the crowd reactions, it will hopefully not remain their last. The Canadians spell energy with a capital E, and, even though it wasn’t possible for them to get in direct contact with their fans due to the massive photo pit, they managed to get the crowd going, with band and crowd drawing each other into the highest level of ecstasy. Watching singer Andrew Neufeld’s head getting redder and redder, one could but fear it would actually explode, that’s how intense his performance was. The band obviously upholds the traditional hardcore values as they kept thanking the crowd again and again and even praised the band they were on tour with, who couldn’t play at Summer Breeze. COMEBACK KID also took the award for the most innovative band on the festival – instead of rehashing standards like circle pits and walls of death, they encouraged the audience to do “the biggest hug ever“, and the crowd obliged! From the stage they could see a big flock of spectators hugging each other, with a radius of at least five meters. Cool idea and a fantastic performance!

17.45 (PZ) VREID

Just like the waft of mist blowing through the top of the Party Tent, there is still a hint of WINDIR in VREID’s songs. Maybe now more than ever, since guitarist Stian Bakketeig’s return to the band last year, which reinforces the connection to the legend from Sóknaldar. The four-piece had just redefined themselves with their new album “V” last February, so it came as no surprise they started their set with “Arche”. The wailing of sirens and haunting keyboard sounds shrouded the tent in an almost morbid, sacral atmosphere. Bassist Hváll, guitarist Stian and guitarist/singer Sture Dingsøyr stepped on stage one after another, and it was time for melodic black’n’roll! Even KAMPFAR leader Dolk himself didn’t want to miss this song. While the first crowd reactions were approving yet timid, the energy level rose significantly as “Raped By Light” from the debut album was played. The whole string section, especially Hváll, kept firing up the crowd like some sort of unholy trinity. Horns and fists waved through the flickering strobe light to the massive mid-tempo beat. “Speak Goddamnit” from the “Milorg” album followed, an incredible track that made the crowd bang their heads. It was especially in the middle part of this song where the band’s past became visible, or rather audible, again. Another new song followed with “Wolverine Bastards” before the band took a step back in their history with “Jarnbyrd”. Apart from the extremely well-balanced mix of styles VREID presented, the complexity and variety of their musical evolution became clear once again. Epic melodies, harsh riffs, grooving mid-tempo rhythms, the blues fighting black metal, it all sums up to such a characteristic mix that it is actually impossible to do it justice with such a simple label as “black’n’roll’. And especially due to the marked dynamics of their music, there wasn’t one weak spot in the Norwegians’ performance, and the crowd honored this accordingly. The band ended up calling to attack with full force again with the closing “Pitch Black”, the undisputed VREID classic. In the audience, hundreds of raised hands and the flag of the United States of VREID. One of the day’s highlights ended to the sounds of the intro to “The Red Smell”. Enter the Pitch Black Brigade!

18.30 (MS) SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

After a major hiatus, the band led by cult frontman Mike Muir has been resurrected like the proverbial Phoenix out of the ashes. There isn’t much left from the original line-up, but the crew up on stage was first class in terms of technical abilities and passionate performance. No wonder each of the musicians, except the rhythm guitarist, got a small solo part during the show. The spotlight was obviously on Mike Muir, who took loads of time again for his philosophical rants in between songs – which unfortunately caused the setlist to be shortened by three songs. The human mountain on the drumkit was a real feast for the eyes, and it was actually Eric Moore, who enjoys a lot of respect in the drum scene. Loads of musicians were following the show from the sides of the stage and the balcony on the Main Stage, and at some point the audience went completely crazy. This went so far that, during the closing “Pledge Your Allegiance”, Muir invited the people in the front rows up on stage (much to the disgust of the stage crew!), which obviously caused a massive stage invasion! In the bands own words: Still cyco after all these years!

18.40 (PZ) KVELERTAK

Just before 19:00 the time had finally come for shooting stars KVELERTAK. With their eccentric mix of rock’n’roll, punk and a shot of black metal, they certainly made the Party Tent live up to its name. Since the release of their acclaimed debut album about a year ago, the Norwegians have been playing pretty much on every stage that has a power socket. But they are far from worn-out or going through the motions. On the contrary, the opener “Sjøhyenar (Havets Herrer)” immediately took the crowd in a stranglehold (the English translation of the band name), and they didn’t let go from there on. The band immediately transmitted its stirring energy and enthusiasm to the audience, and you could see the excitement written on every single face. Bare-chested singer Erlend Hjelvik was in constant movement on stage and even in the photo pit to get in close contact with the crowd. Meanwhile, the three guitarists delivered a powerful sound, playing the great harmonies almost exactly like on record. Almost 40 minutes of sweat, blood and dirt. That’s the way it’s gotta be! The extremely good impression the band left makes us look forward to their European headlining tour in November with WOLVES LIKE US, TRAP THEM and TOXIC HOLOCAUST. It is rumoured they’ll be playing new material as well!

19.20 (CS) AC/DX

When the PA in the Party Tent goes silent for the twenty-minute changeovers, when the crowd gets out of the tent to get ready for the following gigs, what makes more sense than offering people something during that time, something everyone can agree on? With a band name like AC/DX there is not much guessing which rock dinosaurs the five guys on the Camel Stage pay tribute to. Dressed just like the originals, complete with beret and school uniform, every one of the four times AC/DX went on stage they were able to gather a big enough audience to get a cool rock’n’roll party going. Obviously, they only played songs everyone would be able to sing in their sleep. But that was exactly the foundation for four solid shows where people could rock out to the old classics, and there was as much light and pyro effects as the “big” bands had as well. Nice way to pass the time!

19.35 (PS) IGNITE

Besides SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, IGNITE were probably the most veteran hardcore band on Summer Breeze 2011. And the crowd reactions also showed they were one of the most popular. Deservedly so. Even though their last album, “Our Darkest Days”, is already five years old, its compact, melodic hardcore slammers like “Poverty For All”, “Let It Burn” and “Bleeding” haven’t lost any of their urgency. Same as the social and political evils the lyrics deal with, as singer Zoli Téglás didn’t tire to point out in between songs. A welcome change in a time when the political aspect of hardcore is being pushed more and more in the background, and the original ideals of a once politically-conscious counterculture are being reduced to mere fun. The bottom line is, one can always count on IGNITE, both musically and from a human point of view. The only downer was that, apart from their last album, they only played songs from their 2000 release “A Place Called Home”, as they’ve been usually doing lately. Here in 2011 we are still waiting in vain for old hits such as “Embrace”. Whatever, IGNITE’s show was still awesome. Period.

19.40 (PZ) KAMPFAR

Led by frontman Dolk, norsemen KAMPFAR entered the stage to present their original take on pagan black metal. One of the first bands of this genre on the bill, the Norwegians know like no others how to deliver a mix of pagan and black metal as well as folk elements in an authentic, primordial, uncompromising fashion. And it was in this live situation where KAMPFAR’s sublime, driving anthems unfolded an especially hateful, brutal effect. Together with the band’s enthusiastic performance, this fired up the front rows, turning the tent into a boiling pot. Especially Dolk, bare-chested and armed with studded wristbands, spurred on the fans with his gripping black metal poses and commands. And, despite the raw savagery of the pagan Norwegians, it was the grand, folk-tinged melodies that caught the ear as an elementary part of the soundscape on display, without seeming shallow in the slightest. Attack successful!

20.30 (MS) ARCH ENEMY

In 2008 ARCH ENEMY were already present on the Summer Breeze Main Stage, this time it was their turn to get the audience up to speed in the slot just before IN EXTREMO. And one truly couldn’t have wished for a better co-headliner for this Thursday evening. Even though the Main Stage wasn’t always that well-attended during the day due to the glaring sun, at 21:30 sharp it was full to the last square meter. And during the following hour, the numerous, mostly young audience witnessed a show that was almost as exhausting and intense as the day heat. There’s no use to ponder about the technical qualities of the musicians on stage, with the Amott brothers on guitars, Sharlee D’Angelo on bass and Daniel Erlandsson on drums, as they all did a perfect job and showed great enthusiasm. Dressed in a studded, glittering jacket, Angela Gossow also had the fans firmly in her grip and reacted to the countless shouts of “Ausziehen!” (“undress!”) with humour and charm. Despite having one visibly swollen cheek due to a wisdom tooth operation, she whipped up the crowd with her growls, screams and the waving of the “Khaos Legions” flag, and the legions reacted accordingly. At times there were as many as five circle pits going simultaneously, but calls for a wall of death remained unanswered. But either way the crowd gave it their all during a show that wasn’t short on pyro effects, already making many fans look forward to a future ARCH ENEMY appearance at Summer Breeze.

20.40 (PZ) DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL

As a rather small prog-tinged post-hardcore band like DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL it is obviously hard to compete with metal greats such as ARCH ENEMY, who were setting the Main Stage alight with meter-high flames at the same time. Therefore there wasn’t really a huge crowd on hand in the Party Tent. But definitely not due to the young Britons’ performance, which was definitely tight and exciting. The band weaved a dense sound which created a gripping atmosphere, delivering more than just one big moment per song. The few, yet cleverly-placed, quiet parts were like islands of peace, before walls of guitars came down crashing on the audience again. But it wasn’t only an impressive instrumental performance, as singer Ed Gibbs’ pipes made you wonder how he did it, considering his rather fragile appearance. In a much too short 45-minute show the band played material from all of their albums, and the last song, “Like It’s Your Last” from the demo “Darkness Prevails”, which is rather unknown in this country, even pleased the die-hard fans.

21.35 (PS) SONIC SYNDICATE

After a dramatic intro, SONIC SYNDICATE quickly made it clear they were out for a winner tonight. Already in his very first announcement, singer Nathan James Biggs turned on the audience so much, the fantastic atmosphere didn’t only last throughout the set, but actually even increased towards the end, culminating in loud singalong parts and a final wall of death. During their set, the band shone with tight interplay, a clear sound and an altogether cool, gripping performance, which proved the musicians’ professionalism. The songs were drawn from all of the band’s albums, although the focus was clearly on their most recent one, “We Rule The Night”. They couldn’t have done better, as the crowd reactions confirmed. The whole thing was underlined by a fantastic light show, which covered the whole spectrum between slightly psychedelic blue and wildly flashing strobes. To sum it all up: a deserved triumph for SONIC SYNDICATE. The raging crowd’s roar confirmed it. From an atmosphere point of view, this was surely one of the highlights of the festival so far. This band still have big things ahead of them, especially if they continue on at this pace.

21.45 (PZ) DECAPITATED

October 29th, 2007 was a stigma in the history of DECAPITATED, one of the biggest Polish death metal bands ever. The tragic accident that happened in Belarus that day seemed like the end of the band, but later Vogg stated in several interviews that the band must survive. With their new album “Carnival Is Forever” the band returned to the Party Stage as part of a European tour which had just begun. And the show they delivered can only be described as a total win. Without much fuss they launched into “Day 69” from the “Organic Hallucinosis” album. The drums seemed to massage the ground while Vogg played the incredible riff. A new song followed with “404”, and the band impressively proved they are still in the premier league of technical death metal. The DECAPITATED machine is a real clockwork, incredibly precise and tight. While Vogg sawed away on his strings, singer Rafal ran around tirelessly on stage. And the need to move seemed contagious as the action started in the tent, which was pretty full by now. The warmth of the lights engulfed the crowd as they raised their arms in the air. “Are you ready for war?” asked Rafal, as “Mother War” started. Hundreds of bodies twitched and convulsed, dozens of hands carried metalheads over the heads. While outside the air started to cool down, there was nothing of that in the tent. DECAPITATED rather made the temperature rise even more. The crowd was cheering the band on so much, Rafal didn’t even need to talk any more. What could they have done on one of the main stages? Take a song like “Carnival Is Forever” from the new album: The slowly growing intro and the following storm of riffs is just brutality with a majestic elegance – sounds weird, but it’s the way it is. And if there were 80 million managers in Germany during the last Football World Cup, now there’s a few dozen new DECAPITATED guitarists playing their air instruments with almost as much dexterity as Vogg himself. Goodbye DECAPITATED, it’s difficult to part – after the band left the stage after 45 minutes, the calls for an encore lasted for long. This is how a completely perfect show should end.

22.40 (MS) IN EXTREMO

After four years, medieval rockers IN EXTREMO made it to Dinkelsbühl again. Much too long, judging by the huge crowd gathered by the Main Stage. Under frenetic applause the gentlemen took the stage and proceeded to deliver a fireworks display of hits from all of their creative periods. Always known for a spectacular stage show, this time the guys outdid themselves. Fitting the theme of their latest album, IN EXTREMO took the raging mob on a journey to the stars. As if in a trance, the band reached out to the hearts of their fans, firing them up as usual with a hit rate that has no match. After the celebrated “Sterneneisen” from the eponymous new album they jumped right into “Zigeunerskat” and “Sängerkrieg”, which was accompanied by impressive fire effects. Despite the convincing pyro and light show, tonight IN EXTREMO concentrated more on their musical abilities. Apart from some fitting stage props there were only few things that could have distracted from the seven bards. The obligatory “Spielmannsfluch” made the crowd go crazy, slowly but surely leading to the day’s climax. IN EXTREMO were visibly enjoying the show and the crowd reactions, before all dams broke with “Rasend Herz” and “Omnia Sol Temperat”, closing a worthy headlining show. Tonight IN EXTREMO proved once again there’s only few bands who come close to their intensity in a live situation. The only minor downer was the absence of “Erdbeermund” in an otherwise perfect show that left their followers completely satisfied.

22.50 (PZ) HACKNEYED

Once only referred to as youngsters, by now HACKNEYED have matured in age as well as musically. It was already quite late when they took the stage in the Party Tent to deliver a mix of death metal and grind. Their gig at Summer Breeze was kind of a home match as the musicians all reside relatively close to Dinkelsbühl. In a professional and experienced manner they smashed one song after the other into the audience in their alotted 45 minutes of stage time. They played stuff from their first album to the newly released “Carnival Cadavre”, which was going to be available for purchase for the first time at the band’s signing session later that evening. The crowd celebrated every song on offer, and it was pretty impressive to see how many people had come to see the show and how they got into it. The band really ignited a spark in the audience, not least because of their tireless stage acting. Especially guitarist Devin was quite acrobatic, but singer Phil also ran around a lot.

00.00 (PS) MARDUK

Driving a tank at Summer Breeze – at midnight on the Pain Stage it was possible. Swedish black metal institution MARDUK had come to freeze the summerly ambience for at least one dark hour, shrouding the shining half moon in fog. And from this very fog the black metallers emerged. One short moment of quiet during the menacing intro, one bloodcurdling scream from Mortuus, and the Swedes went straight for the throat. No mercy, no clemency, the well-oiled tank tracks of the MARDUK panzer completely crushed the audience. However, with the speed-loving Swedes’ live shows it is like this: If they don’t want to completely annihilate the audience within the first minutes of the set, they need to slow things down every now and then. The short breaks in between songs served as a means to this end. Fresh fog, a quick check of the tuning, and then the next song announcement, which often seemed more like a warning. But it was the very well-balanced choice of songs from the last 15 years of their career, including brand new songs such as “Headhunter Halfmoon”, which provided the set with the right dynamics. Unleashed outbreaks of speed were always followed by headbanger-friendly mid-tempo tracks such as “Bleached Bones”. The crowd reactions spoke for themselves. While during the blastbeats only the toughest necks were rotating, the slower songs (if you can even use the word slow in conjunction with MARDUK) took over the whole audience. There was one thing everyone could agree on though: If it’s got to be a panzer, it’s got to be MARDUK! The anthem “Panzerdivison Marduk” stirred things up once more. The crowd wouldn’t let the band go, so they returned once more to close the festival day on the Pain Stage in style with “Azrael”.

00.00 (PZ) EXCREMENTORY GRINDFUCKERS

No other band fits on the Party Stage better than the EXCREMENTORY GRINDFUCKERS. Before starting their set, the guys warmed up the audience with old pop songs and Mallorca-style music. Then they launched into their insane mix of grindcore, hardcore and chart songs. From the very first minute the drunken crowd participated in the band’s stupidity. David Hasselhoff, Roberto Blanco, you name it, the EXCREMENTORY GRINDFUCKERS blurred “classics” of all genres with their brutal grindcore. After an hour of songs like “Schnaps”, “Heimscheisser”, “Veganerweibchen”, “Taschengeld” or “Vater Morgana”, there was no dry eye – and probably no dry armpit – in the house. People laughed, danced, partied and got up to all kinds of shenanigans. No one followed the band’s invitation to get naked, but it is the idea that counts. When at the end it was the turn of EUROPE’s “The Final Countdown” it was all over. This is definitely not music to enjoy at home, but it’s perfectly suitable to drive away uninvited guests. The risible muscle working full time. Pure party.

 

01.10 (PZ) WITCHERY

WITCHERY didn’t start quite on time, leaving people to wait for a few moments. During this time the fans had the chance to take a good look at the simple but stylish threepart backdrop, until the band, entirely dressed in black, stepped on stage to the jolly sounds of the theme music of 70s TV show The Persuaders. But that’s about as jolly as it got, because the first track “Witchkrieg” was already a kick in the face. Especially the singer looked darkly impressive with his corpsepaint and leather armour. To those who thought he looked familiar he soon removed all doubt when he mentioned he had played his last show with DARK FUNERAL here last year. Ladies and gentleman, on vocals, Masse Broberg. On drums there was also a surprise guest, as it wasn’t OPETH drummer Martin Axenrot working the kit, but a stand-in drummer who made a great job. After the show’s highlight “Omens”, which was introduced with the atmospheric sound of bells chiming, the band had to stop for a second for a small argument between guitarist Jensen (THE HAUNTED) and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (also in ARCH ENEMY), before they finished things off with “Awaiting The Exorcist” and “The Reaper”.

02.20 (PZ) ABORTED

The later it gets, the wilder it gets. When ABORTED stepped on stage late at night, they were faced with the difficult task to give metalheads, who had been suffering from the heat all day, the final adrenalin kick. Already during soundcheck, when drummer Dirk Verbeuren delivered a quick ear massage, the Belgians made clear what to expect from them: Goremageddon! After the infamous sound clip “… I think you should know that I killed a lot of people”, ABORTED went for it with “Dead Wreckoning”, and they couldn’t have had a better start. Technically brilliant and brutally heavy, they proceeded to level the stage completely. Like many other bands on the festival, ABORTED also relied on tried-and-tested classics, mercilessly thundering through the highlights of their career. With tracks such as “Meticulous Invagination”, “Necro-Eroticism”, “The Saw And The Carnage Done” and “Sanguine Verses”, ABORTED gave their fans nothing but the best, and the crowd responded accordingly. The tent may only have been half full, but the crowd didn’t show any signs of tiredness or exhaustion. Banging heads as far as the eye could see, and on stage a band that was virtually exploding. Svencho and his buddies’ acrobatics during “Threading On Vermillion Deception” alone were a real feast for the eye. And they even had a surprise prepared for the audience. Since their last album had already accumulated a bit of dust, Svencho asked the fans if they wanted to hear something new. The loud roar was a straight answer, so ABORTED played “Flatline”, a brand new track from their new album scheduled for early next year. And one thing is for sure: If this song is anything to go by, in January 2012 we will get an ultra-brutal death metal album, which will definitely make us forget the weaknesses of the last EP. This gig won’t be forgotten so soon though – ABORTED were at the top of their game, and the sound was extremely powerful, except for maybe the kick drum. Top!

03.20 (PZ) POST MORTEM

Death thrashers POST MORTEM had the daunting task to conclude the first official festival day, which so far had been absolutely awesome. It didn’t seem like an easy task, since many festivalgoers were already snoring in their tents. But the diehards clearly wanted to see the band and were more than rewarded. POST MORTEM delivered a massive metal attack, making sure even the last few energy reserves were sucked out of the audience. With slightly salacious stage raps and plays on words the band kept up the surprisingly good atmosphere in the crowd. Since the band has been around from 1987, they had a lot to choose from in terms of repertoire, and they took the chance to give the last survivors of the day the full POST MORTEM treatment. With “Bleeding”, “Lobotomy”, “Ghost Of The Warship” and “Hate, Kill, Destroy” they finished the day in brutal style. After the show, most of the attendants went quietly into their tents to enjoy a well-deserved rest.